Taking a Toddler to the zoo – again

In the very first days of my PhD, I tried to explain the difference between how philosophers study concepts (mainly by looking things up in dictionaries) and how psychologists might go about it by running experiments, such as taking a toddler to the zoo. Here’s the original post.

It seems like I wasn’t the first psychologist to have this idea.

It is well known how intensely older children suffer from vague and undefined fears, as from the dark, or in passing an obscure corner in a large hall, &c. I may give as an instance that I took the child in question, when 2 1/4 years old, to the Zoological Gardens, and he enjoyed looking at all the animals which were like those that he knew, such as deer, antelopes &c., and all the birds, even the ostriches, but was much alarmed at the various larger animals in cages. He often said afterwards that he wished to go again, but not to see “beasts in houses”; and we could in no manner account for this fear.

Darwin, Charles (1877) A Biographical Sketch of an Infant, Mind, 2, 285-294 [here]

Happy birthday, Chuck.

About caspar

Caspar is just one monkey among billions. Battering his keyboard without expectations even of peanuts, let alone of aping the Immortal Bard. By day he is an infantologist at Birkbeck Babylab, by night he runs BabyLaughter.net
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